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Pelican Technical Article:

Brake Rotor Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2.5 hours

Tab:

$300

Talent:

***

Tools:

6mm Allen bit, 18mm and 16 mm socket wrenches, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 528i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 530i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 530xi Wagon (2006-07)
BMW 535i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 535xi Wagon (2008)
BMW 545i Sedan (2004-05)
BMW 550i Sedan (2006-10)

Parts Required:

Front or rear brake rotors and brake pad wear sensors

Hot Tip:

Clean brake caliper

Performance Gain:

Proper brake function

Complementary Modification:

Flush brake fluid. Replace brake pads

BMW E60 service brakes consist of hydraulic brake calipers, one at each wheel. When the brake pedal is pressed, brake pads inside the calipers clamp the brake rotors (or discs) and slow down the vehicle. The parking or emergency brake uses an entirely separate braking system. A pair of mechanically operated cables attached to the parking brake handle actuate parking brake shoes inside the rear wheel drums (which are integral with the rear brake rotors). I cover procedures for parking brake cable adjustment and brake shoe replacement in separate tech articles.

You should check your brake rotors during every major service that you perform on your BMW. Inspect your brake rotors for cracks or scoring; replace the rotors if you have a pulsation when braking. Brake rotors can look OK and still be worn out. If there is a ridge around the edge of the brake rotor, this is a good sign that they are worn out. Using a micrometer, measure the brake rotor thickness to determine if they need replacing. When measuring, measure in a few different spots and use the lowest number. See our tech article on checking brake rotor specifications.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had parts replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Most factory rotors and some aftermarket rotors will have a minimum thickness stamped (green arrow) on the rotor.
Figure 1

Most factory rotors and some aftermarket rotors will have a minimum thickness stamped (green arrow) on the rotor. This will be in the area of the hat or hub flange. Clean the rust away from the rotor to uncover the specs. There may also be a part number. It's a good idea to inspect and replace your brake pads when replacing the brake rotors. See our tech article on brake pad replacing. Always replace the brake rotors in pairs by the axle.

With the vehicle on the ground, loosen each wheel stud about 1/2 turn.
Figure 2

With the vehicle on the ground, loosen each wheel stud about 1/2 turn. This will help with removing them once the vehicle is jacked up. Lift and support the axle of the vehicle you are replacing the brake pads on. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle. Remove the wheels on the axle you are replacing the brake rotors on. Using a flathead screwdriver, remove the brake caliper anti-rattle spring (green arrow) by prying it out while securing it with your hand. The spring can pop off and go flying. Be sure to hold it steady.

Open the brake caliper bleeder cover (green arrow) and remove the pad wear sensor (yellow arrow) wire from the mount.
Figure 3

Open the brake caliper bleeder cover (green arrow) and remove the pad wear sensor (yellow arrow) wire from the mount.

Pull the brake pad wear sensor out of the left side brake pad.
Figure 4

Pull the brake pad wear sensor out of the left side brake pad. Be very careful, as the sensor tends to break when removed. I like to use a pair of needle nose pliers to pull the sensor out.

Using a flathead screwdriver, slowly press the brake caliper piston in.
Figure 5

Using a flathead screwdriver, slowly press the brake caliper piston in. This allows the brake caliper to be pulled off the brake rotor easily. I like to pry between the outer brake pad and brake rotor. This way there is less chance of damaging the caliper piston.

Working behind the brake caliper, remove the two brake caliper bracket-mounting bolts (green arrows).
Figure 6

Working behind the brake caliper, remove the two brake caliper bracket-mounting bolts (green arrows). The front caliper bracket is mounted with 18mm head bolts; the rear is mounted with 16mm bolts.

Remove the brake caliper bracket from the wheel carrier and hang it using a piece of metal coat hanger or a strong bungee cord.
Figure 7

Remove the brake caliper bracket from the wheel carrier and hang it using a piece of metal coat hanger or a strong bungee cord. Do not allow the caliper to hang from the brake hose.

Next, using a 6mm Allen bit, remove the brake rotor-mounting fastener (green arrow).
Figure 8

Next, using a 6mm Allen bit, remove the brake rotor-mounting fastener (green arrow). Then remove the brake rotor from the hub. If stuck, use a hammer to tap the rear of the rotor to free it.

Clean the wheel hub using a wire brush.
Figure 9

Clean the wheel hub using a wire brush. Remove all corrosion and rust from the hub before installing the new rotor. Install the new brake rotor and tighten the mounting fasteners. Then reinstall the brake caliper and tighten the bracket mounting bolts. Once the calipers are installed and fasteners are tight, press the brake pedal to pump the brakes up. Once the brake pedal is hard to push, install the wheels and check the brake operation.



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Comments and Suggestions:
MOP Comments: How is the break pad wear sensor replaced? This part is missing from the reinstallation instructions.

Also, how are the parking break shoes retracted for the rear rotors?
August 29, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The sensor is simply pressed into the slot in the brake pad, reverse of how it was removed. You should not have to back the parking brake shoes off unless there is a problem. http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/BMW-E60/44-BRAKES-Parking_Brake_Adjusting/44-BRAKES-Parking_Brake_Adjusting.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ryan Comments: Does the Brake Rotor-Mounting fastener need to be replaced with a new one when replacing the rotors? Do you need to use any type of threadlock on it while installing?
July 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It does not need to be replaced unless it is damaged. Only apply the same color threadlocker you see when the fastener is removed, if none, apply none. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:40:15 AM